When a woman chooses not to abort

Charlotte Allen at the Independent Women’s Forum has an excellent piece up, detailing what happened to one woman who – via a sonorgram – learned that her daughter would be born profoundly disabled, and opted to give birth to and love her daughter for as long as she lived.

The whole story is from a feature in the Wapo Magazine and it’s well-worth reading. For all that feminists and others insist that abortion is a “choice,” it seems when a woman carrying a less-than-perfect infant chooses life, even her family and ministers (and doctors) try to talk her out of it.

Because, as we see more and more everyday, this is the era of disposable humanity. Too old, too brain-damaged, lingering-too-long, born with a cleft palate? You might as well die, or better yet, let’ s not even let you take your first breath. Maybe some day you’ll be too fat, or too “unfit” to live.

Undoubtedly, if Sun Hudson’s mother had had prenatal care, she would have gone thru the same thing.

I’m not gainsaying or judging anyone. I’m merely saying that it is perhaps kinder – both for a mother and a child – to allow a severely disabled child to be born, and to allow the mother to hold and love that child for an hour, than to vacuum the child out of her in pieces and have the mother always wondering about that baby she never met. Yes, I did say kinder. Yes, I know that is “backward thinking” and that the Conventional Wisdom is that the “kinder” thing is to abort and pretend the life was never created, never LOVED INTO BEING.

So, I’m backward. I told you I was dyslexic!

This is a very interesting story, well told, and it brings up one of the pressing issues of the age – the whole division of mindsets between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death, and again, it is striking that the clash between these cultures has become so much to the fore at a time when we are beginning to gauge the impact of John Paul’s pontificate.

And it goes both ways. When a mother chooses to give birth to her child, to allow it to live its short time, she allows love to come into the world, and yes, it forever changes her. And sometimes, a mother will do the other remarkable thing, and she’ll choose her child’s life over her own. It all leaves me awestruck.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • peggy

    Good for this woman. Nowif only her values were consistant enough for her to insist that God had a Christian man waiting for her so that her children would be raised in a home free of religious confusion. If only her values were consistant enough not to allow her religion to play second fiddle to his. If only her values were consistent enough to realize that she should leave him rather than stay with him for the sake of future children. If only she strong enough to insist that her husband refrain from making the baby a muslim by whispering that call to prayer in her ear after they agreed that the child would not be raised in one religion or the other. He, like all muslims, in spite of whatever he might have said, simply assumes that the child is already a muslim at birth and all his actions were governed by this assumption and the child’s actual burial was completely controlled by him with her own preference treated as the afterthought it would have always been even if the child had lived. He would never have accepted his child being anything else and this is contemptous of his wife’s faith. I don’t understand how she can not see that.

    Good for her for giving birth to such a child and for being strong enough to resist his relentless pressure. Now she should leave him because he is bad news for her and she will suffer similarly every time her will diverges from his. I hope that she will love herself and her future children enough to raise them in a Christian home.

    Sorry about the rant but what an a-hole that guy is! Where is her self esteem? Where is her esteem for her own religion? If she thinks one religion is as good as another why does she bother with having one at all? Why does she remain a Christian while at the same time having no problem with her own flesh and blood being of another faith? I am praying for her to resolve these things and for her to one day be consistent in her practice of her faith. I am praying for her future children.

  • peggy

    I am also praying for a happy life for her filled with children and love.

    I would love be to able to say that I am praying for the father as well, but I am not that big. It takes me awhile to cool down, then I can maybe I can pray for someone like him. I truly admire those who don’t hesitate to pray for such as him. They are much better people than me.

  • Florence Schmieg

    I read this too. What a fine article. It is rare to see something that presents, without judgment, the pro-life side and the difficulties this decision can sometimes involve. The arguments against continuing the pregnancy reflect our current culture. The mother’s reasons for continuing it are a cause for joy. What would our world be like if that were the culture-one of acceptance, love, and self-sacrifice. Let’s pray that America goes in that direction.

  • stephanie

    I think it’s wonderful that she was able to do what felt right for her. Everyone has their own road to travel- it sounds like that absolutely was the correct one for her.

  • http://belleonhertoes.blogspot.com bonnie

    I was hoping you would mention the mother who chooses her child’s life over her own, Anchoress! How did our culture come to regard giving one’s life for another as wrong, when it used to be considered the most noble act of all?!

  • http://kmaru.blogspot.com Kobayashi Maru

    If this iis ‘backwards’, then bring it on! I spent last Sunday caring for a friend’s developmentally disabled young child. Early in life, it was not clear that he would see, hear, speak, or walk. Miraculously, he does all of those things now (albeit with some difficulty). It was one of the most beautiful days of light and love in recent memory. My family and I grew from it. His presence was a gift. How many others never had that chance…

  • http://davejustus.blogspot.com Dave Justus

    I do think that there is a good point here:

    ’Before there’s a pregnancy, Susan and I are equals, and we make decisions together,’ he explains. ’After a pregnancy, when a baby is born, we would be equals and make decisions together. But it’s clear to me that during a pregnancy, I am not an equal parent with full rights.’

    That is of course an issue on both sides of this, there are men who don’t want their wives to get and abortion when the wives want them, and like in this example, the opposite is true as well.

    Another factor that makes such a decision problematic is the simple fact that undoubtably the decision to let this baby be born and then die rather than abort the baby was a very expensive one. I know that the first reaction from most of other commenters here on reading that sentence will be, so what? Life is too important to place a pricetag on.

    That sentiment is noble.

    The simple fact though is that things are expensive usually when they are rare. There is are limited resources that can be used on pregnancy and infant care, and using them on one thing (this child) means that they cannot be used for another.

    What if the doctor who delived this child was therefore unable to focus attention on another child and the result was severe injury or death to the second child? Would that have any effect on the moral calculations of this act?

    Doubtless that did not happen. Seldom are costs like this so obvious and so direct. However, it is not unlikely that a lot of children recieved a little less care because resources were spent on a child that had no chance from the start. Hundreds of decisions like this would likely cost at least one life. Is that worth it or not?

    I don’t have any answers to this. I do think though that the full implications of things need to be considered.

  • stephanie


    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who was concerned by the husband’s feeling on the matter. My partner and I are a team-doesn’t sound that there was a team effort in this case, and the husband is pretty unhappy about it. That made me sad.

  • kimberley

    Sounds like this poor woman made a horrible mistake when she married.